Tigers rue costly mistakes
Sun, 19 Jan 2014 10:31
We're bitterly disappointed
Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill talked of 'tiny margins' after his side narrowly missed out on top spot in Pool Five and a home quarterfinal in the European Cup.
Cockerill saw the Tigers lose their eight-season unbeaten home record in the competition as Ulster left Welford Road with a 22-19 victory that means it is they who finish as top seeds this term.
Ruan Piennar kicked five penalties and converted his own try for the Irish outfit, while Leicester touched down through wing Niall Morris and Toby Flood kicked 14 points.
Leicester led 19-9 10 minutes into the second period but Ulster responded rapidly when Pienaar charged down Flood's poor clearance having already slotted a fourth penalty.
"It was a good game of rugby. It was tiny margins and those margins went against us at times. It was that tight. We could have won it, but we didn't. It was one of those games where mistakes cost us," said Cockerill.
"We're bitterly disappointed with not winning the game. Having been 10 points up, we should have made a better fist of that.
"Ulster are a good side. They play a certain way and they did it very well. They didn't create anything - they just kicked well and put you under pressure and, at times, we didn't manage that as well as we would have liked and that's cost us.
"We defended very well. They didn't create a try-scoring opportunity all night, it was a charge-down kick to score and they kicked the rest through penalties.
"We created a score that was well worked, but you can score points in lots of different ways and Ulster did that tonight, with Pienaar kicking very well.
"We got beaten - that's sport - and you have to say congratulations to them. It wasn't for lack effort. That's life and that's the game at times."
While Ulster can look forward to top seeding and a home tie with Saracens in the last eight, Leicester now know they will be on the road as the best-placed runner-up from the six pools.
As things stand, Tigers are off to Toulon in a repeat of last season's first knockout round but that could change on Sunday afternoon if Clermont beat Racing Metro with a bonus point.
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